Monday, March 10, 2008

When does the Cake Challenge end?

I know. I know. I shouldn't even be talking about how it ends until I start but the Challenge seems to have morphed into different things. Jason wants to write a book. Marsh said in his blog that this is now more of an online career exercise instead of a bankroll management exercise. Will looks like he went cold turkey. Royal is still getting started. Ryan seems to be the only one who is still on relatively the same course.

I've been wondering a while about what the goals are for people. For Jesus it was the 10K mark. I guess we never set a specific dollar amount goal for the TNP Cakers. But in general what is the goal of any poker player? Keep moving up stakes until they are playing at the highest level? Make it to the WSOP? Win a WSOP event? Do it for a profession? I figure that there is a point at which you can decide to turn into a grinder and find a game that you can beat and just play for income and not necessarily to grow your bankroll. Kinda like a retirement portfolio that you move out of stocks and into bonds.

Does anyone have any solid goals in mind for their Cake Challenge?


jason said...

To achieve the same level of bankroll as Mr. Ferguson in the same amount of time or less is my current goal. I don't know if I will make it but that's the objective. Then I plan on a poker sabbatical, maybe a day, a week or a month I have not decided.

No one in our group is capable yet of making a living on line and to be honest that has never been a goal of mine. To date, I have not found anything more entertaining that I can do by myself at home so maybe the challenge will never end.

Ryan said...

I didn’t have a specific goal going in other than, “Figure out if bad bankroll management is the reason or a contributing factor to my lack of success in online poker.” That’s a resounding “yes.” I believe my previous failures online were due to overplaying my roll, which the challenge has really driven home for me. I guess my follow-up goal if that turned out to be “yes” was, “build up an online bankroll on a backbone of solid bankroll management.” That’s where I am now, I suppose.

Would I like to make “relevant” money playing poker someday? Sure, I guess, but part of what the challenge has helped me to understand about myself is that building a roll the hard way is what makes me both comfortable gambling with it, and want to set limits with it.

If I wanted to make a serious run at relevant-money poker, theoretically I could stake myself and apply Ferguson rules to a starting roll of $20k and play the $5/$10 NL games. But, I wouldn’t be comfortable. That would mean I was drawing funds from outside my roll, and risking money outside of my roll would put me off my game.

“A healthy disregard for money” is often cited as a requirement for being a poker pro. I don’t inherently have that disregard, I only have it when it’s either a small amount of money (relative, I know), or it’s “house money” so to speak. So, if I can build up to relevant-money poker on the foundation of money I’ve won, great.

I guess in a sense, the Cake Challenge is already over for me. I stopped racing Marsh long ago as he blew me out of the water on hand count, and I never compared myself to Jason in the first place, as he has mostly proven that a good player completely disregarding bankroll management in an incredibly swingy game can get lucky and dodge the downswings enough to work up a big roll that he can then get sensible with.

I’m not taking away anything from either Marsh or Jason--both have accomplished amazing things in their online play since September-- I’m just not using either as a measuring stick for my own progress. Marsh is simply getting in a dizzying amount of hands, and Jason’s story, by his own account, was one bad session away from being, “I put $300 on Cake and busted.” (Try writing a book about that.)

I keep buying things using money from my roll, too, which is going to prevent me from getting to a “big game” roll if I keep doing it. My roll is currently about a third the size of my actual winnings, I just make sure I keep my roll at a size where I can follow Ferguson rules in my regular live-game play.

Anyway, in one sense, the Cake challenge ended when I parsed all of its important lessons, and I developed an important respect for using solid bankroll-management principles in my ongoing game. In the other sense, the challenge will never end, because now I’ve incorporated roll management in my live and online game, and I will be trying to build up my roll in both using “challenge” principles for (hopefully) a long time to come.

jason said...


Well put, and a good read on Ryan's thinking. Ever think of writing a book?

I will say that I am amazed at the discipline you show in following the Ferguson rules. We are on month 5 I believe and no one, other than yourself, has followed the rules as they were outlined. I do commend you on this achievement.

Marsh and I have inherently too much gamble in us to follow the rules as outlined. I stopped following the rules on day 1 or week 1 I can't remember. I did however follow bankroll management principles in a relative sense vs. my prior online experiences. But no where near Ferguson rules.

Marsh in his last blog indicated that the challenge as outlined had stopped for him and I believe he took 3 or 4 shots before he officially stopped following the rules. Royal's endeavor is too new to count and it looks like Will stopped playing. Austin's progress is unknown and I can't recall what other participants are out there.

As one of the most disciplined players I know (still have yet to see you play 6,3 os from the button or shove preflop with the wide variety of hands Marsh does) what are your views on taking a shot? I think you could be successful at the next step up in Omaha or O8. As Marsh and I did, we played one table, played close attention, and survived our efforts at taking a shot. We also took our shots in the middle of a downhill slide and reversed the curse. Perhaps taking a shot would work for you, but then you may lose the status as the most discliplined player I know.